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Principal SUSPENDED for warning students about cancel culture: 'This is about free speech'

The Glenn Beck Program

'Think about totalitarian governments ... what makes those types of systems possible is the restriction and the elimination of the free exchange of ideas'

Tennessee Principal Barton Thorne was suspended by Shelby County School administrators in January after speaking with his students about the dangers of cancel culture.

"I want you to understand the problem that's going to face you and your generation if there is no longer a marketplace, a free exchange of ideas," he told them, urging the students to engage in respectful conversations with those who hold differing opinions.

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn read Thorne's message word for word, and said he doesn't know what's wrong with anything the high school principal said.

Here is are a few excerpts from Thorne's message on Jan. 11 to the students:

"I'm not going to tell you what to think. I just want to help you think. And, no, it's not about the Capitol riots. That was ignorance at the highest levels. I don't know too many people who are going to be okay with what happened. I don't care whose side you agree with. We do not practice sedition. We do not attack our legislature."

"It's what's going on with Twitter and Facebook and Google and Apple, and their decision as private companies to filter and to decide what you can hear and know about. And this isn't about Trump, I'm not getting into that, this is about free speech, because there have been times even in American history where a small group of people decided what you can hear. Think about McCarthyism ... think about totalitarian governments, think of North Korea, think of China. What makes those types of systems possible is the restriction and the elimination of the free exchange of ideas."

"…in democracies, we talk about the marketplace of ideas. Well, what happens when the marketplace of ideas becomes a forced monopoly? What happens when you do not have dissenting opinions, when you do not have an exchange on competing ideas—how do you know if your ideas can stand on their own if there is no marketplace of ideas?"

"Any time we allow any group of people to tell another group of people, 'you can't think this. You can't say this. You can't write this. And you can't go to places where it's talked about,' that's just one step away from happening to you. Because right now, it may be that the ideas that you value, that are shared by the people who are in power and filtering those people who are not in power. But it's just one election or one moment away from being flipped."

Thorne's attorney, Daniel Suhr from the Liberty Justice Center, joined Glenn to explain why they're suing, and how the district administrators can use their "immense" mistake as a teaching moment for the students under their charge.

"I hope the school district does the right thing here, which is not just giving Barton his job back, but acknowledging that what he said was right," Suhr told Glenn. "This is a teachable moment. The school district needs to tell its students that if they talk about free speech in a paper, they're not going to get an F. They need to tell other teachers, in this district and across the country, it's okay to talk about the Constitution, to teach basic civics, and not have to watch your back, that the speech police are coming for you. So hopefully the school district does the right thing here, and acknowledges what it did was wrong and illegal."

Watch the video clip below for more details:


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